The TCU and Fort Worth police departments are investigating a report of a sexual assault that occurred Aug. 16 in a residence hall.
The victim reported meeting the suspect via social media, according to the crime alert sent Wednesday by the TCU Police Department. To date, the suspect has not yet been identified.
Interim Chief of Police Robert Rangel wrote in an email some people may be dishonest when interacting with others on social media.
“It is easy to pretend to be something you are not just to get the attention of someone and appealing to their vulnerabilities,” he wrote.
Rangel wrote that doing research about a potential date and talking to the person over the phone or FaceTime before meeting in person can help students stay safe while using social media. He added that students should not give out too much personal information before they are “comfortable and feel safe.”
“Many of our cases come not from predators, but from opportunistic actors/perpetrators where intentions are very different and not communicated,” Rangel wrote in the email.
Rangel’s suggestion to learn more about a date before meeting that person may be an important step to take when using dating apps in addition to social media.
A 16-month investigation by Columbia Journalism Investigations and ProPublica studied more than 150 incidents of sexual assaults involving dating apps. It found most of the cases occurred during the users’ first in-person meetings, in parking lots, apartments and dorm rooms.
Match Group, which owns most of the major dating apps including Tinder, does not screen for sexual predators on its free platforms, meaning registered sex offenders can use the free apps.
In 2018, seven rapes that occurred in on-campus residence halls were reported to TCU police, according to the Annual Campus Security Report published October 2019.
Students are encouraged to program the TCU Police phone number, 817-247-7777, into their phones and download the FrogShield app to be able to get a rapid police response.